News / USA

    Obama, Congress Begin Contacts on Fiscal Challenge

    President Barack Obama,Michelle Obama and their daughters Sasha and Malia, walk from Marine One to board Air Force One at Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago.President Barack Obama,Michelle Obama and their daughters Sasha and Malia, walk from Marine One to board Air Force One at Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago.
    x
    President Barack Obama,Michelle Obama and their daughters Sasha and Malia, walk from Marine One to board Air Force One at Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago.
    President Barack Obama,Michelle Obama and their daughters Sasha and Malia, walk from Marine One to board Air Force One at Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Nov. 7, 2012, in Chicago.
    U.S. President Barack Obama is back in Washington after his decisive election win over Republican Mitt Romney.  The most pressing issue for the president and Congress is avoiding the so-called "fiscal cliff" at the beginning of the new year.

    Obama already is taking steps to accomplish what he said in his speech in Chicago upon accepting a second term as president.

    On his way to a strong Electoral College and narrow popular vote defeat of Mitt Romney,  Obama said Americans voted for "action, not politics as usual," and said he is ready to get to work with Congress.

    "In the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together:  reducing our deficit; reforming our tax code; fixing our immigration system; freeing ourselves from foreign oil.  We've got more work to do," said President Obama.

    President Obama telephoned Republican and Democratic leaders of the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, including Republican House Speaker John Boehner.

    A White House statement said he reiterated his commitment to "finding bipartisan solutions to reducing the deficit in a balanced way, cutting taxes for middle class families and small businesses, and create jobs."

    But compromises in Washington are difficult, and time is running short to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff" of expiring Bush-era tax cuts and mandatory spending cuts.  

    On Wednesday, Boehner voiced willingness to compromise on the contentious issue of new revenue, saying this could be accomplished through tax reform.

    Boehner signaled he is open to new negotiations on a broader agreement to solve the nation’s deficit and debt issues.

    "What we can do is avert the cliff in a manner that serves as a down payment on and a catalyst for major solutions enacted in 2013 to begin to solve the problem," said Boehner.

    To receive Republican support, Boehner said  Obama would have to agree to reduce spending and address the need for changes in huge entitlement programs.

    On Wednesday, Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid, who would have to be part of any compromise, said the election sent an overriding message.

    "This was really the message the American people sent from all over and that is, they're tired of these partisan gridlocks," said Reid.

    Thomas Mann, a political analyst at the Brookings Institution, says the president may have some openings to break through gridlock, but the overall atmosphere of polarization in the country has not changed.

    "Looking at the individual members of the respective coalitions of the parties and the intensity of the level of partisan voting, so we see no new coalitions emerging, no glimpse of anything on which you would try to build a consensus in Washington based on the behavior of the electorate," said Mann.

    With what he sees as his election mandate,  Obama is expected to step up consultations with Boehner and other congressional leaders on the approaching fiscal cliff.

    How Obama and the White House respond to Boehner's overtures will play out in coming days as negotiations on the fiscal cliff intensify.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora